James Gilchrist

James Gilchrist


Representation: General Management

Photo: Patrick Allen


James Gilchrist is one of the UK’s leading tenors and has performed in major concert halls throughout the world.   Recognised as ‘the finest Evangelist of his generation’ his extensive repertoire embraces works spanning many centuries.   He is an enthusiastic and prolific exponent of lieder and enjoys nothing better than putting together interesting and challenging recital programmes. His impressive discography includes the Schubert and Schumann song cycles, Finzi, Vaughan Williams and Britten.


Full Biography

James Gilchrist began his working life as a doctor, turning to a full-time career in music in 1996. His musical interest was fired at a young age, singing first as a chorister in the choir of New College, Oxford, and later as a choral scholar at King’s College, Cambridge.

James’ extensive concert repertoire has seen him perform in major concert halls throughout the world with conductors including Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Sir Roger Norrington, Bernard Labadie, Harry Christophers, Harry Bicket and the late Richard Hickox. A master of English music, he has performed Britten’s Church Parables in St Petersburg, London and at the Aldeburgh Festival, Nocturne with the NHK Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo and War Requiem with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. Equally at home in Baroque repertoire, appearances include Handel’s L’Allegro il Penseroso ed il Moderato with Stuttgart Bachakademie and at Teatro Real, Madrid, Solomon with Les Violons du Roy, Semele with Concerto Köln, Hercules with the English Concert, Ode to St Cecilia with Basel Chamber Orchestra and Messiah with Boston Handel & Haydn Society.  Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and the St John and St Matthew Passions feature prominently in his schedule, and he is celebrated as perhaps the finest Evangelist of his generation; as one review noted, ‘he hasn’t become a one-man Evangelist industry by chance’.

In 2017, James celebrated 20 years of collaboration with pianist Anna Tilbrook with a recital in Oxford.  Their recent performances together include a weekend celebrating Vaughan Williams at St John’s Smith Square, and a new project for the Wigmore Hall – Schumann and the English Romantics – pairing Schumann song cycles with new commissions from leading composers Sally Beamish, Julian Philips and Jonathan Dove. In the 2017/18 season, James and Anna return to the Wigmore Hall for the third and final instalment of the series, with a programme of Schumann songs and a world premiere of a new work by Jonathan Dove.

James’ impressive discography includes recordings of Albert Herring (title role) and Vaughan Williams’ A Poisoned Kiss for Chandos, St John Passion with the AAM, the Finzi song cycle Oh Fair To See, Elizabethan Lute Songs When Laura Smiles with Matthew Wadsworth, Leighton Earth Sweet Earth, Vaughan Williams On Wenlock Edge, Finzi songs and Britten’s Winter Words for Linn Records, the critically-acclaimed recordings of Schubert’s song cycles for Orchid Classics and a disc of Schumann song cycles for Linn Records.

James sang the role of Reverend Horace Adams in Britten’s Peter Grimes with Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra and Edward Gardner with performances at the Edinburgh International Festival. Further recent highlights include Haydn’s Creation for a staged production with Garsington Opera and Ballet Rambert, as well as performances with Aarhus Symphony Orchestra, Denmark, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, and Orquesta Sinfonica de Galicia, Spain, a series of concerts in Langeland with the pianist Julius Drake and a collaboration with the Academy of Ancient Music on a programme of Bach & Purcell.

In the 2017/18 season appearances include Handel’s Belshazzar and Bach cantatas in Stuttgart, Christmas Oratorio with the Nederlands Kamerkoor, Elijah with the Orquesta y Coro Nacionales de España, Madrid and Masaki Suzuki, War Requiem with the National Youth Orchestra of Germany and concerts with Bernard Labadie and Les Violons du Roy in Quebec and at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa.  His close collaboration with Anna Tilbrook continues with a recital tour of Scotland and the North of England.

Promoters please note: if you wish to include this biography in a concert programme etc, please contact Hazard Chase to ensure that you receive the most up to date version.

Email: Evie Parker



Gilchrist and Debussy Mirrored Ensemble

July 9th, 2018

James Gilchrist joins Eddie Parker for a fusion of jazz and classical

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James Gilchrist and Anna Tilbrook

June 26th, 2018

Upcoming concerts in the UK

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Suzuki, Stéphany and Gilchrist in Madrid

March 14th, 2018

Mendelssohn’s Elias with the Orquesta y Coro Nacionales de España

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Vaughan Williams Songs of Travel

January 12th, 2018

James Gilchrist,  Anna Tilbrook and Philip Dukes release new recording on Chandos

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The Creation with Warsaw Philharmonic

November 28th, 2017

James Gilchrist and Joanne Lunn sing Haydn Creation conducted by Matthew Halls

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Handel JEPTHA (Niedersächsischer Chorverband)

‘James Gilchrist mastered the tenor role with a devotional performance’
Martin Scholer, Leipziger Internet Zeitung (June 2018)

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Vaughan Williams SONGS OF TRAVEL (Chandos CD)

‘James Gilchrist’s elegant tenor […] His sound is certainly mellifluous, his phrasing poised yet fluent. […] In the opening ‘The Vagabonds’ he sounds admirably bright and vigorous’
Michael Scott Rohan BBC Music Magazine (March 2018)

‘Gilchrist sings with pure, unaffected beauty, matched by Tilbrook’s sincere feel for RVW’s limpid accompaniments.’
Richard Pritchard, The Guardian (11 February 2018)

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‘Gilchrist is a consummate communicator, and his recitals are a model for all singers, with tone, glance and gesture all playing their part in engaging the audience.’
Barry Creasy, MusicOMH (4 November 2017)

‘Gilchrist and Tilbrook caught the ambience exactly, giving us a rippling, lyrical paean to nature in ‘Let beauty awake’, a quiet, mystical wonder at the vastness of the sky in ‘The infinite shining heavens’, the jaunty optimism of a travelling pedlar seeing the open road stretching before him in ‘The roadside fire’, and a magnificently contrasting ‘Youth and love’, from mellow mezza voce and the gentlest accompaniment for ‘deep in the gardens golden pavilions hide’ to the loudest, most jubilant Heldentenor note of the evening on ‘Cries but a wayside word to her’.’
Barry Creasy, MusicOMH (4 November 2017)

‘The repeated ‘Ave’ in ‘Peace, come away’ was the most moving line in the set, and Gilchrist delivered it with hushed intensity.’
Barry Creasy, MusicOMH (4 November 2017)

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Stephen Wilkinson THE SUNLIGHT ON THE GARDEN,  (Signum Records)

“Best of all, perhaps, is James Gilchrist, whose wonderful way with words enables him to encompass the bitter humour if ‘Chapels’, the sweetness of ‘Grantchester’ and the dark lyricism of ‘The Sunlight on the Garden’, a wartime setting of MacNeice that gives the disc its title.”
Tim Ashley, Gramophone (October 2017)

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Haydn CREATION, Garsington Opera

“No one tells a musical story with more wonder, more delicacy than James Gilchrist, who delivered the English text with an Evangelist’s care.”
Alexandra Coghlan, The Arts Desk (July 2016)

“There’s a strong line-up of vocal soloists: tenor James Gilchrist has clean diction, warm tone and a nice hint of drama.”
Zoë Anderson, The Independent (July 2016)

“A trio of top soloists – soprano Sarah Tynan, tenor James Gilchrist, bass-baritone Neal Davies – relished each aural detail, with terrific contributions from the lean, vital forces of Garsington Opera Orchestra and Chorus.”
Fiona Maddocks, The Guardian (July 2016)

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Discography & Repertoire


The songs of Stephen Wilkinson with James Gilchrist (tenor), Matthew Brook (bass-baritone) and Mhairi Lawson.



With James Gilchrist (Evangelist), Neal Davies (Christus), Sophie Bevan (soprano), Iestyn Davies (counter-tenor), Ed Lyon (tenor) and Roderick Williams (bass arias & Pilatus).  Stephen Cleobury conducts the Choir of King’s College and the Academy of Ancient Music



With James Gilchrist (Evangelist), Stephan Loges (Jesus) – John Eliot Gardiner conducts the Monteverdi Choir, English Baroque Soloists and Trinity Boys Choir in a performance recorded live in Pisa Cathedral

SDG (2017)

Artist Manager

Sue Nicholls (Cambridge)
01223 706023

Assistant Artist Manager

Evie Parker (Cambridge)
01223 706414